Local band Willhorse played the stage at the Golden Civic Centre for the first time at the Rick Hansen Relay Concert on April 12.

Willhorse lighting up Golden music scene

Local rock band Willhorse has been hitting bars, playing shows all over town, and even got the chance to play the stage at the Civic Centre.

If you have been spending much time at the Rockwater Grill and Bar, or the Taps Pub, then you’ve probably already seen these guys perform.

One of Golden’s hottest bands has been lighting up the local music scene for the past couple months, and recently even hit the stage at the Golden Civic Centre for the Rick Hansen Relay concert.

“That was so great. When we get to play a venue like that (the Civic Centre), it really gives us hope that we’re getting closer. Essentially those are the venues that we want to play, constantly. So when we get to experience that on a small scale, that pushes us to work harder,” said Jeremy Borschneck, singer and guitar player with the band Willhorse.

The southern rock influenced indie band also features Branden Winterholt on guitar and vocals, Nick Petrowich playing the drums and singing backing vocals, as well as Todd Menzies on bass.

“(Winterholt) and I are cousins, and we toured together for about two and a half years acoustic, just the two of us,” said Borschneck, reminiscing about the band came into being. “And then we met (Petrowich) at a gig. We were playing in Swiftcurrent.”

“When I saw them play, it was just the two of them sitting on chairs on this big stage with two acoustic guitars. And people were up dancing to it. I thought these guys were so cool, I should go talk to them. I was a musician, playing with another band and thought I should branch out. And we just hit it off,” said Petrowich.

Since then, the three have been playing together under different names and different bands. They took a bit of a hiatus, and Borschneck moved to Golden to start his business, the Crooked Antler.

“I had decided to move out here, and explore this part of the world, and I noticed that there was music happening here every night of the week pretty much. So I called these guys and convinced them to come down,” he said.

” I was working in Edmonton, and I’d get calls from (Borschneck), and he’d be like ‘it’s so great, you’ve got to come down here.’ You don’t expect it to be as good as it is until you get here,” said Petrowich.

“I’ve always lived in cities, nowhere as small as Golden. But it doesn’t seem that small because there’s always people coming through, and great culture and great shows.”

“It’s just such a great community,” added Winterholt. “It’s been so welcoming. The last couple weeks, we’ve been playing four nights a week.”

In a town the size of Golden, Willhorse is working very hard to keep an audience full of regulars entertained night after night.

“It’s a fine line with over-saturating our band, because in Golden a lot of the same people do come to the bars,” said Borschneck.

The band has a repertoire of original music, as well as covers of a multitude of different bands. To keep it interesting, they have played both electric and acoustic shows. And when the band hosts jam or open mic nights, which they do at both the Rockwater and Taps on a regular basis, they will each get up and do solo performances.

“It’s almost a good thing that it happened though, because it forces us to change and innovate and do something new so that people don’t get sick of us,” said Petrowich.

And although they do enjoy playing in bars and performing covers, which Winterholt says can range “from anybody like the Stones to lots of 90s stuff like the Tragically Hip,” Willhorse hopes to start playing music venues where they can play a full set of their original music.

“Our main goal at this point, is we want to be able to play venues where people come out just to see live music. Where we can walk in with our gear, set up all of our backline, they have a sound guy and a PA system. We do an hour of original music, and then get off the stage,” said Borschneck.

“I love playing in bars, it’s awesome. But it takes a lot of sacrifices sometimes to go on tours like that,” said Petrowich.

The band is planning a small tour for about a month in June and July, and then they hope to come back to record a CD. At the moment, they are recording some music in Golden’s Straw Bale Studios.

“We’re planning on putting a fundraiser together this summer to record a full album. Right now we’re just working on some demos,” said Borschneck.

The writing process is a very collaborative process for Willhorse. They each try to bring in their own individual flavours, and hopefully put it all together to come up with something special.

“If any of us write a song we bring it to the band and then we all work on it together. But individually we will all sit down and write music,” said Borschneck.

“You can’t get possessive over your writing in a band. It should be like a big pot, you throw it all in the middle and share it,” said Winterholt.

It is that process that has created several songs that are becoming well known throughout Golden. And the band is continually surprised by the support they have found in the community.

“It’s unbelievable how many local people have grabbed onto our music and our sound, and really embraced it and supported it,” said Borschneck.

“This place has really pushed us to appreciate what we have around us. And it keeps us going everyday,” added Winterholt.

Willhorse has no immediate shows scheduled in Golden, but they will be performing at the Backwoods Blues Festival in Invermere on May long weekend.

To find out more about Willhorse, like them on Facebook.